Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Ex-Labour MP Buys A Job

Apparently, owning and operating a business is hard work?

I enjoyed an article in the Dom today about the part redemption of ex-Labour MP, Mark Peck (sorry, can't find a link).

Peck followed the usual non-productive route before becoming a Labour Party stooge with his 17-year career as a union official. He was elected as the MP for Invercargill in 1993 and a cursory Google search reveals a pedestrian parliamentary career.

When Peck retired from Parliament in 2005, he had personal demons to shun including addiction to drink and pokie machines. After the obligatory rehab, Peck was unfortunately unable to be immediately cured of his addiction for public money and telling others what to do, so ironically took a job as a director of the Smokefree Coalition funded by the Health Ministry.

A couple of years ago, allegedly looking for a new challenge, Peck decided to purchase an established Wellington cafe in Dukes Arcade. 

Suddenly the security blanket of public money was whisked away and Peck was unceremoniously exposed to the realities of the private sector.
"It's the little things that Mark Peck, businessman, finds most frustrating about the activities of his predecessor, Mark Peck, politician. The hours he now spends documenting compliance with health regulations, preparing tax returns and fulfilling his ACC obligations, the business lost through council roadworks and the impossibility of ferrying supplies from the loading zone across the road to his cafe in the five minutes he is permitted to park.

In fact it is dealing with local bodies that he finds most vexatious. He accepts the Wellington City Council's right to charge him rent for his sandwich boards, but ponders the wisdom of employing someone to check the signs are in the right place." 
At this point a Helen Clark-ism response to Peck would be most appropriate: "Diddums" 

So has Perk changed his tribal allegiance away from Labour?, No. His ongoing journey to the right has yet to be completed, however he does make some interesting observations about current Labour policy.

On the minimum wage, Peck is a little vague. He still wants the State to fix the price - just not $15 his former Labour colleagues are advocating OR above what he is currently paying some of his staff:
He pays above minimum wage to all his nine staff, although "not a lot in some cases". The critical issue is the level the wage is set, he says.

"What I've learnt  is that in an industry with low margins, wage costs are very significant. I just don't think people understand the effect a $15 minimum wage would have on businesses like this. Prices would have to go up."

And, if prices go up, customers already feeling the economic squeeze, change their spending habits. Instead of ordering off the menu, they buy cheaper pre-made food out of the cabinet. Or they eat out less. the result: less profit for the owners; less money to employ staff."
On Labour's pledge to remove GST off fresh fruit and vegetables, Peck is a little more forthcoming:
"...Mr Peck shakes his head in disbelief. The idea is "silly" and impractical. The only people who benefit will be lawyers and accountants."
I suspect that behind the secrecy of the curtain at the polling both in November, Peck will be tempted by National's Labour-lite platform.

Makes you wonder if all MPs should have to operate a cafe...(or a motel) for a few years BEFORE they are permitted to enter Parliament.

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!